Kuro Tarangire: Tanzania’s safari secret
This beautiful, bountiful park is home to huge herds of elephants, zebra and wildebeest
An unsung hero of the Tanzanian safari circuit, Tarangire is one of the country’s most glorious national parks. Second only to the Serengeti in the abundance of its wildlife, it attracts a considerably smaller population of visitors.
Fewer still venture far from the northern gate, leaving the green heart of the park to the safari connoisseurs. Here the northern plains meet the Silale swamp, replenished by an underground spring that sustains huge herds of elephants, hippos, buffaloes, zebras and wildebeests - and the big cats which prey on them.
As for the lodge itself, Kuro Tarangire is a modern classic, crafted from canvas and airy woven brushwood, and furnished with a few items of antique furniture.
Where is it?
Tarangire National Park is in northern Tanzania, about 60 miles as the crow flies from Arusha (but considerably further by road). It can easily by combined with a visit to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti.
Light aircraft flights link Kuro airstrip to various bush airports throughout northern Tanzania, and to Kilimanjaro airport (from where international flights connect to the UK). It can also be accessed by road from Arusha, a three-to-four-hour drive away.
Even without its huge herds of game, Tarangire would be a beautiful park. With lowland plains and rocky outcrops, green swampland and dry savannah, acacia forests and rocky river beds, it encompasses a wide range of game-friendly ecosystems - and classic African landscapes. After the rains arrive, pink flowers poke from the red earth and bare branches sprout green shoots.
Elephants are the big draw here. About 3,000 of them migrate through the park between July and November, heading for the southern swamps as the north dries out. Wildebeests, buffaloes, hippos, zebras and antelopes of all shapes and sizes are also plentiful, as are the lions and leopards that prey on them, although leopards are less often seen. Among the more than 500 species of bird resident in Tarangire are eagles, parrots, nightjars and pelicans.
Accommodation and food
Kuro is a beautiful lodge, light and airy, and rooted in a sense of place. Eschewing the colonial aesthetic of many safari camps, it is full of unvarnished wood and undyed fabrics, creating a soothing palette of creams and browns. The six guest rooms, each with an en suite bathroom and outdoor shower, are built from locally sourced wood and tastefully furnished.
Food draws inspiration from a range of culinary traditions, from the familiar (shepherd’s pie for dinner and fried egg sandwiches for breakfast) to the more exotic (spiced spherical fish cakes for lunch). Dinners are either communal or private, whichever guests prefer, buffet lunches are private and breakfasts are usually served as picnics mid-way through extended game drives.
When to go
The camp closes for the wettest months of the year, April and May, but remains open for the lighter rains in November and December (which mostly take the form of short, sharp afternoon downpours). The wet season is the best for birdwatchers, and also the most photogenic time of year: rain washes dust out of the air and the bush and grassland turns vivid green. But the dry season has its advantages too: as streams and pools dwindle, animals gather around the most reliable water holes, making them easier to find. Daytime temperatures range from 24C in July to 29C from October to March, and at night they dip to 17C in December and 13C in July.
Price and booking
Rates for Kuro Tarangire start at about £600 per person per night in low season, including full board and most activities, but excluding flights and transfers. For more information and suggested itineraries, see the Nomad Tanzania website, and to book contact Yellow Zebra Safaris